The simple mantra “always be prepared” doesn’t just apply to boy scouts, it applies to the best professional movers out there, and it should apply to you too. Because a mover is only as good as his or her tools, remember to do an inventory check on all packing materials before you begin. Box all the simple, stackable, square items first to see if you will need additional boxes. These organizational methods may seem tedious but just remember: the better you package your belongings, the better they will travel.
Materials You Will Need
Large Plastic Trash Bags
Have a good supply on hand not just for throwaway items but also to cover items such as loose cushions and pillows to keep them from getting dusty and dirty. Trash bags can also be used as cheap moving bags for old clothes, blankets or children’s stuffed animals
Resealable Plastic Sandwich Bags
You will find these useful for many purposes especially for moving furniture. When disassembling furniture items, you can keep the nuts and bolts together so they will not get lost during the move. And when you are done, pack some sandwiches so you can eat while you are still deciding where everything goes in your new kitchen.
A MOVE Notebook and Pen
It is a good idea to pack one room at a time labeling each box with the room name (Kitchen, Bathroom…) and a number (Kitchen – #1). As you complete packing each box go to your notebook, record the room name and the box number and list the contents of the box. If you take a little extra time to do this while you are packing each box, being as specific as you can, it will make unpacking at your new home that much easier. Also, if a box goes missing during the move you will be able to identify the missing items immediately by referring to your inventory list.
Black Felt Markers
The jumbo size, permanent ink, bold felt markers. Have two or three on hand as they tend to get misplaced especially if you have friends helping you pack for the move. Mark your boxes boldly.
ARROWS UPWARD on all sides of the box when the items you have packed must stay in the upright position. FRAGILE on all sides of the box when the box contains fragile items.
Utility Knife and Scissors
For cutting cardboard and other packing materials.
Packing Tape & Tape Dispenser
What is the point of protecting your household items with boxes if they don’t stay closed? Hence the importance of using the correct kind of packing tape when house moving. Other kinds of tape such as duct tape or masking tape do not adhere well to cardboard boxes. We recommend 2” wide plastic tape. A tape dispenser will make the job much easier and faster. Most moving companies offer a package deal – tape dispenser with 2-3 rolls of tape.
Do not apply tape directly to polished or painted wood finishes. Removing the tape could ruin the surface. If you are attempting to secure dresser drawers or cabinet doors so they do not fly open when they are moved we recommend you use stretch wrap for this purpose.
Whatever type of boxes you use (purchased or free) make certain they have a lid or cardboard flaps that completely cover the top so can tape the box completely shut. When the movers lift and turn your boxes to get them on the truck, you have to be sure they will stay closed. Try to keep the weight of your boxes to 50 pounds or less and tape the bottom and top of every box.
Purchased Boxes There are many places you can get boxes for your move free of charge. But for some items, it may be helpful to purchase boxes specifically made for storing more difficult items. Most moving supply companies will buy back any boxes you do not use so make certain you have a good supply of various sizes on hand before you start packing and keep the sales slip for any returns.
Wardrobe Boxes These boxes come in two sizes, large/tall for hanging longer clothing items (gowns, dresses) and small/short for hanging shorter clothing items (suits, shirts). Wardrobe boxes are recommended for transporting all of your hanging clothing items.
Electronics Boxes: These boxes are specially designed for moving, shipping or storing televisions, VCRs, microwaves, stereo components, computers, monitors and printers. If you have not kept the original shipping box for these items, consider purchasing an electronics box and proper packing material for added protection during the move.
Free Boxes Liquor store boxes are great for packing heavy items such as books or tools because they are relatively small and very sturdy. Copier paper boxes from work (with the lids) are also good packing boxes. Supermarket shipping boxes for fruits and vegetables are also good sturdy boxes. Many of these common locales will give you boxes upon request. Before you pack any of your belongings into these boxes, make sure you have cleared them of any remaining debris that may have been left behind.
Rubber/plastic Tote Boxes Rubber / plastic tote boxes are becoming a very popular alternative to the standard cardboard packing box for some items because they are waterproof, durable and can be reused for moving and storage of everyday items once you arrive. They come in various sizes with lids, they have handles for ease of lifting and usually stack very well. If you use these tote boxes for packing, do not overload them just because they seem so durable. They still have to be lifted so keep the general rule of thumb in mind, should not to exceed 50 pounds.
If you use old newspapers to wrap your belongings and wadded up newspapers to fill in empty spaces in your boxes be prepared for the ink to rub off on your hands and also to rub off on anything else the newspapers comes in contact with. This means cleaning everything at the other end before you put anything away. Worse yet the ink may permanently stain some of your items. Use clean white newsprint. Most moving supply companies sell this packing paper in sheets by the box and it is a relatively inexpensive investment to protect your personal belongings during the move. Size of the sheets may vary but generally a box will contain 150 sheets – 20” x 25”. You will need plenty of packing paper so make certain you start out with a good supply on hand.
To protect wooden furniture items, upholstered furniture items and large appliances during the move. Blankets and quilts may also be used.
To secure furniture pads around large items of furniture. To secure furniture items inside the trailer so they will not get damaged from shifting during the move. Clothes line or twine may also be used.
Is sold by the foot or yard and is available in various bubble sizes ranging from small to large. Smaller bubble size is recommended for delicate, lightweight items such as picture frames, glass or porcelain vases, crystal, glassware, figurines and knick-knacks. Larger bubble size is recommended for heavier items such as electronic or stereo equipment components, paintings or sculptures.
Are sold by volume by the box or in bags. Perfect as a cushion or filler when boxing up delicate objects. Great for packing electronics or other items sensitive to bumps and shocks. Most packing peanuts available today are environmentally friendly, biodegradable and anti-static.
Is sold by the roll generally in two convenient sizes. Small, 5” wide x 1000’ roll. Large, 18” wide x 1000’ roll. This is a handy wrap ideal for bundling and securing all types of household items. Stretch wrap is very strong and form fits to any item you wrap. It sticks only to itself leaving no adhesive residue on the items you wrap. The small sized stretch wrap is ideal for securing dresser drawers and cabinets doors so they do not fly open while you move them. Wrap your furniture with the stretch wrap and your drawers and doors will stay firmly in place. Wrap cables with your electronics, ski poles to the skis, curtain rods and table legs together. The large sized stretch wrap makes wrapping larger furniture items and other bulky items fast and easy.
Rent an appliance dolly to move or load appliances and other heavy objects.
Keep your mattress and box spring free of dirt, dust and possible water damage. Dust can settle deep into the mattress fibers during a move or while in storage. You can purchase mattress bags in various sizes from a moving supply company. If you would like to do it yourself, purchase a roll of 3.0 gauge plastic, cut it to completely cover your box spring and mattress and secure it tightly with packing tape (or duct tape).
Sofa and Chair Covers
Part of moving furniture is taking care of your nicer pieces. Protect sofas, loveseats and upholstered chairs from dust, dirt and water with furniture covers. You may not even need to purchase these covers, as many large furniture discount stores discard the shipping covers from new sofas and chairs once these items arrive at their store.